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USDA-NRCS has $500K available for conservation projects in Puerto Rico/USVI

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that it has posted the NRCS Caribbean Area Partners for Conservation funding notice and is open for applications through May 29, 2022.

The NRCS stated that the amount available for support of this program in Fiscal 2022 will be up to $500,000.

The purpose of the Caribbean Partners for Conservation awards will be to leverage NRCS and partner resources on proposals that address the following goals:

  1. Increase implementation of conservation practices that promote the four Soil Health Principles (Disturbing Soil Less, Diversify Soil Biota, Keep Living Roots and Keep the Soil Covered).
  2. Increase the implementation of conservation practices that aid in adapting to and mitigating against increasing extreme weather events and promoting drought resiliency measures.
  3. Increase support and implementation of urban farming and conservation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  4. Increase productivity of grasslands and improve animal husbandry.
  5. Provide habitat for local wildlife species of concern as listed in Puerto Rico and USVI State Wildlife Action Plans.

“We see positive impacts when we work with our conservation partners to deliver conservation education and assistance to our clients,” said Luis Cruz-Arroyo, NRCS Caribbean Area Director. “These focused partnerships allow us to maximize the delivery of our conservation efforts and achieve greater improvements to soil, water and habitat quality, which benefits participating producers, the public, and our islands’ natural resources.”

Priority will be placed on projects that:

  1. Provide support to both Puerto Rico and USVI field offices and/or clients. Any outreach products and educational material created in the agreement will have an English and Spanish version.
  2. Provide support to Landscape Planning efforts (watershed or landscape level) that reduce sediment and nutrient loading through technical assistance, Farm Bill program promotion/ outreach, innovative conservation approaches, evaluating conservation outcomes, and/or implementing demonstration farms.
  3. Provide technical capacity to conduct conservation planning, on-site (field) practice certifications and/or monitoring practices outcomes and follow up with producers on establishment of conservation practices. All proposals that include conservation planning assistance must specifically include:
    • The steps of the NRCS 9-step conservation planning process included in the project proposal.
    • Who will have responsibility for completing each step and the description of the training and certifications of the project staff performing the conservation planning work.
    • Details in the project methodology on how each step will be executed.
  4. Build tools and technical capacity of NRCS and conservation partners’ field employees.
  5. Build the capacity of local watershed/ conservation groups to develop, design and implement effective conservation projects.
  6. Conduct surveys and assemble cost data on materials and components for conservation practices and scenarios (electronic Field Office Technical Guide) that will serve NRCS to include cost analysis in the conservation plans.

Proposals are requested from city or township governments, county governments, federally recognized Native American tribal governments, state governments, nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education), or institutions of higher education for competitive consideration of awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration. Organizations may use this opportunity to request additional funding for existing agreements in the Caribbean Area.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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